Helin Burkay: The Social Life of the Olive in the Mediterranean
The Social Life of the Olive in the Mediterranean: Exploring State, Society and Environment Relations in Gökçeada
Food connects multiple actors, places, bodies, and systems. It acts as an interface between different materialities and discourses encapsulating the layered, complex, and evolving relationship between the environment and the society. Building on my dissertation on cultural politics of local food in Gökçeada (Imbros), I will present my research on the history of olives on the island as they relate to larger regional histories and changing political imaginaries. In my presentation, I take olives as a lens to interrogate the rich and dense interface of the relations between the environment, society and the state in the Mediterranean. Looking at different mobilities, places and memories around the discursive material constellations of the social and economic networks, olives highlight peculiar insights to understand the politics and memory of the local food and place.
Helin Burkay’s work is on the cultural politics of food. Her research focuses on how food encapsulates multi-scalar, multi-vectoral and uneven material and discursive connections between environment, state and society. Helin holds a PhD in Sociology from Carleton University with a dissertation on the localization of organic olives in the island of Gökçeada (Imbros).